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Unit 7 P2

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P2: Use the case study to write an essay that explains the sociological approaches to health and ill health

The functionalism approach thinks that when people are sick they should take on roles of their own that comes with many responsibilities when they are taking on the ‘sick role’. So with the family being ill they will be out of work yet they will not be cared for by the welfare state. Tamselas parent live with her meaning she has to care for a find a way to provide for everyone in her household as well as herself making this very hard as there are eight members within a three bedroomed house. The responsibility of the sick role is to take all reasonable steps to get better and gain their normal role in society, Tamsela needing to do this to take care of her family and being able to heat up their house as it is in very poor condition. Ill people cannot be at work because the government cannot risk more people getting in and taking the sick role, this because the society would not be able to run smoothly and government cannot take care of all of these.

Although the functionalists think that the society has to be mended as quickly as possible to make it run smoothly the Marxism think different. The Marxism approach seem to think that the dominant social classes provide the society with the right needs as they help people on the sick role get back to normal as soon as possible so the society see these as agents; working along with the employers rather than the patients that need the care. They think because Tamsela lives in a poor state area in London and live in bad conditions the Marxism think that ill health is down the where and how people live, this being down to the different social classes. Firms that produce things that are bad for the health and staying in business as people who live in these conditions need the money as they have barely any help from the welfare state. The government does not do enough to prevent ill health and issues that lead to the illnesses as they agree it costs too much money meaning they cannot tackle this to keep workforce healthy.

The interactionists think that in studying the sociology of the health and illness do not look at the structures and different institutions, they look at the social groups, family friends and ties with professional services. They think these groups have a lot of influence on any medical diagnosis on whether or not people are ill or just declare their self ill. Critics of the interactionists approach say that concentrating on the relationships and negotiations that take place makes people ignore the main cause of ill-health; these include medical explanations and environmental issues such as pollution, stress and poverty. This being with Tamsela and Aziz having no income as they have no jobs, they live in poor conditions and they suffer from illnesses themselves, the children are always getting poorly and have constant colds. The house they live in has damp and they can’t afford to heat up the house in the winter, this because of them having poor health and not having an income to help support the family.

The feminism approach: feminists blame inequalities on the men. This is because they believe in clarifying differences between the sexes. Feminists see major social divisions in society between men and women and think that this has an impact on health and illness. They think the medical scheme is over-run by men, so health care tends to be headed towards looking after men’s health and the men are getting better care leaving the women behind all the men in the queue. They think that women get paid less than men, even when doing the same job which leads to stress and illness and maybe even diseases, leading to them not being able to work full time. Feminists think that health promotions may have done a much better job at encouraging diseases and male problems like testicular cancer rather than female problems such as cancer of the womb. Diseases can be a reason of ill health; diseases are outlined as a compulsive condition of a part of organs, organisation of an organism causing from various causes such as infection, genetic deficiency or environmental stress.

The interactionist approach has raised a lot of alarms when it comes to health and illness, it is concerned with different processes that help give understanding whether people are ill or whether they just define themselves as ill. When there are people with the same complaint it is hard to pronounce them all ill and whether they seek themselves some medical professional help, there are some people that are seriously ill with illnesses that others cannot see and they still carry on working even if it has an impact on them. People with disabilities still go to work when some people would deem them as not being able to work, being disabled does not mean that they cannot work. There are many types of disabilities this ranging from learning disabilities to physical disabilities; there are people with this illness who can walk and talk and the disability is not noticeable but there are people who can physically not move and have trouble speaking etc. There is not a factual definition of illness as sociologists have struggled to come up with a definition; there are different people who think different things about being ill and what it means. Illnesses all depend on the physical illness and emotionally ill, this can be in pain or just feeling slightly poorly.

Epsom in 1978 carried out a study of health of adults using a mobile clinic. He found that a few different patients had major diseases such as cancer; these diseases have not been noticed by their practitioner. The clinical iceberg describes the fact that the majority of symptoms are ignored or left untreated, this being to rather get people back in employment or the GP not thoroughly doing their job. Talcott Parsons suggests that having a sick role allows the sick person to extract from their usual roles, for e.g. work, full time employment. This means that if a person is sick they are not supposed to enjoy the time off work, this encouraging the sick person to return to work. Therefore places responsibility on the sick person to get better by using available resources such as going to the doctor and medicating for a fast recovery; this explanation helps us to understand how society expects people to perform when they are ill.

A holistic health approach doesn't view the body, mind and spirit as distinct objects and encourages drugs and surgery only when absolutely essential and after other solutions have been sought. It looks for the underlying causes of symptoms, rather than just covering up the symptoms with a drug. It's a wellness approach that addresses the body, mind and spirit or the physical, emotional/mental and spiritual aspects of an individual. The essence of who you are -- the core self. Traditional medical doctors treat the body and ignore the mind; conventional mental health professionals treat the mind and ignore the body. Neither one of them address the spiritual. Both of them treat symptoms with drugs or surgery rather than looking for what causes the symptom.

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